What’s your opinion on scuba diving?

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I now that at this point in 2020, such things are probably not remotely near your mind unless you actually live on the coast and own a boat and can go out on your own and not interact with anyone all day. But setting aside the state of the world’s pandemic… Would you scuba dive?

I went once when I was younger, with my extended family, to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We went out on this boat that had no back, so you could jump right off into the water, about twenty or thirty of us (I can’t remember!), dressed up in our gear. Honestly, maybe what I said was misleading. I didn’t scuba dive. I went snorkelling. But, and this is a serious but, the environmental impacts don’t differ too much in my mind. In fact, I think those of us who didn’t scuba dive did more harm. So maybe my question should have been ‘What’s your opinion on snorkelling?’. That’s just my messy mind, although you’re used to that by now!

The thing about snorkelling is though, you’re so close to the coral. Those are the spots the tour leaders took up to, so we could stay shallow but still be within arms reach of the colourful coral. Because the Great Barrier Reef is absolutely gorgeous. No question. I even saw a shark! A little one, granted, but how often can someone boast they swum by a shark in Australia and survived unscathed? This gal can. But what I’m really trying to get at here, is the environmental impact we have on coral bleaching. I was doing my best to avoid touching anything, but I pulled my knee down to help kick so I could swim back to the boat, and bam. I kneed a clump of lovely red coral… And had to watch it bleach. I remember it clear as day.

And I was really trying to avoid it. There were people on my tour who wanted to take a piece of coral back home with them. Who were taking underwater photos of each other holding pieces, reaching out for fish, pretending to casually lean on the mounds. Imagine the damage just one group did… and then think about how many groups go out into the reef daily, let alone yearly.

I know that there are plenty of things harvested from the ocean that I wouldn’t want to give up, which is why I’m thinking maybe only seasoned and trained professionals should be allowed to go out. And maybe photographers, who understand that a picture is worth far more than a piece of the set. Seaweed, for example. How do people get seaweed to make vegetable collagen for collagen cream? Do they go out into the ocean, or do they have seaweed farms? Can you sew seaweed seeds? Wow, have I just created a new tongue twister? Can Sweet Susan Simply Sew Seaweed Seeds Seasonally? Say that five times fast!